For a couple of months, Iʼve been using the Code 87-Key MX Clear. Its a Mechanical tenkeyless keyboard with Cherry MX Clears. While Iʼve had a rather large number of keyboards, this is my first mechanical keyboard. Previously I used scissor keys pretty exclusively. I had previously settled on using the Apple Wireless Keyboard. The nice thing about it is that the layout is exactly the same as the MacBookʼs keyboard layout.
While I didnʼt mind using the Apple Wireless Keyboard, I never really enjoyed it. I had a tendency to hit the keys really really hard which made my fingers sore at the end of the day. When Jeff Atwood announced the Code, I thought it look great but, there was no way I was going to spend $150 on keyboard at that time. When I saw the Code on Massdrop, I thought I needed to try it out. Iʼm glad that I did.
At a glance, it doesnʼt seem special. It looks like a classic keyboard with the number pad cut off. Its appearance has been slightly upgraded. The keys and case look great in black. The key cap lettering isnʼt printed on, instead the keys are translucent where the labels should be. It then backlights the keys with a white leds, which looks awesome. The brightness is adjustable with off being one of the options and I prefer it somewhere in the middle.
As you may have noticed, the layout on the product page isnʼt very Mac friendly. Luckily, its easy to reconfigure. There is a set of dip switches that allow you to reconfigure various settings. One of the options is to swap the “Windows” (or as Mac users know it, the ⌘ key) and the Alt key (or option for Mac users). That still leaves the obvious problem that the physical keys are in the wrong spots. This is easily changeable with the included key cap puller, just pull both sets of keys off and then put them in the correct position.
The feel of the keys is where mechanical keyboards really shine. Cherry MX Clears have a very nice tactile bump. The one adjustment that I've needed is that the key travel is quite a bit longer than on Scissor keys, If you only pressing the keys to the actuation point, it isn't that much longer. However, bottoming the keys out is quite a bit longer which, is something that you should avoid. Its a fairly crappy feeling when you do.
One of my complaints with the Code is that it uses a USB 2 micro b cable. Iʼm not under the illusion that a keyboard needs USB 3 cable but, its really hard to find a good quality USB 2 micro b cable. The included one is great. Its very high quality but, its not quite long enough for my desk, so I needed to purchase a different one. It turns out that seemingly no one makes a good quality >2 meter micro b cable. My other complaint is that it has negative tilt built in as does the Apple Wireless keyboard. While many people prefer this, it is not good for your hands. Unfortunately many keyboards come with it build in and this is one of them.
Iʼve really enjoyed using the Code. Its the perfect standard layout keyboard. Prior to this, I never found typing to be a rewarding experience but it is with the Code. I canʼt imagine how a keyboard could be better than this but, now Iʼm trying out a very non-traditional keyboard, the Ergodox(also available on Massdrop).
If youʼd like one, theyʼre on Massdrop again.